Stop, Collaborate And Listen

A few weeks ago, the Weekly published a letter of mine, defending the Eugene Transportation Planning department’s bicycle lane upgrade of 13th Avenue. I also suggested that the roundabouts in the proposed upgrade of the Franklin Boulevard corridor would be an improvement because roundabouts move traffic much more efficiently than traditional traffic-light systems.

But having read the “request-to-stop” advertisement in the June 29 Weekly, I’m now concerned about the proposed elimination of the westbound left turn onto Orchard Street, especially.

The Transportation Planning department doesn’t have a great track record of major upgrades that work well (enough) for all primary stakeholders, resulting in a backlog of ill will that colors the Franklin Boulevard controversy. So I’m writing now to request that the department step back and consider the raised concerns.

First, I suggest an experiment: temporarily shutdown the existing Orchard Street left turn, on alternating weeks, to gather actual data. Monitor any traffic pattern changes and work with the Hirons and Market of Choice companies to determine if there’s any correlation between turn-lane closures and weekly revenue. And, of course, compensate them if necessary.

Second, provide a forum that initially addresses the already known concerns, then provides ample time for people to express their unresolved concerns, and then address those concerns, too.

The future of the Transportation Planning department’s political independence is at stake. If the result is yet another poorly thought-through design, a political solution will surely come.

Peter Straton